I Solemnly Swear I’m Up To No Good

The motto for many of the companies who are putting different things in our cosmetics that we honestly shouldn’t even have near our bodies (in large doses that is). And every time I go into a Sephora or any other store, I try to look all omniscient reading the labels of the products but more often than not, I have no damn idea what they’re on about, now I’m sure most of the time you guys don’t know either and that’s okay! I have been doing some research on it and it’s often surprising what goes into cosmetics, especially from “organic” and “natural” labels.

BHA and BHT PRESERVATIVES: Often used to prolong shelf life of cosmetics, body lotions and soaps. These often cause allergic reactions. It’s also a hormone disrupter, it mimics the natural action of estrogen and can raise the risk of oestrogen-dependent cancer such as breast and ovarian cancer after prolonged harsh use.

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (MDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine, quaternium-15, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate): I know, what on earth is up with those names? But again, it’s another way of increasing shelf life. In low doses, it can cause eye, skin and other irritations as it triggers allergies. Though in large doses, it’s carcinogenic.

Parabens (Methyl, Propyl, Butyl, and Ethyl-Paraben): Mostly used as preservatives in most cosmetic products ranging from toners and scrubs to shampoos and shower gels. It can cause allergic reactions as it easily absorbs into the skin. Studies show that they also mimic estrogen. Instead: Vitamins E, C, citric acid or rosemary extract.

Isopropanol: This is a solvent and penetration enhancer that drives other ingredients deeper into the skin. It is a form of a neurotoxin that often dries and irritates skin, it could be potentially toxic for the liver after prolonged usage.

Paraffinium Liquidium (Mineral oil): It’s that cheap product that’s in everything! It is easy to apply and forms a film on the skin which helps prevent water loss (as most oils are expected to do). Research suggests that this interferes with the body’s natural moisturizing mechanism which often leads to chapping and dryness.

Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly): You’ll definitely know this, Vaseline is the most patent example but these can often lead to dryness and chapping as well. Instead: COCONUT OIL! Almond, apricot seed oil, jojoba avocado, rosehip seed oil.

Propylene Glycol, PEG, and PPG: These are combinations of synthetic petrochemicals and are found in moisturizers, deodorants, make-up, depilatories etc. to keep the skin soft and supple and drive other ingredients far into your skin. They have been linked to allergic reactions, eczema, and hives. Instead: Xanthan gum, quince seed, rice bran, vegetable glycerine, lecithin, and panthenol or plant waxes such as jojoba, carnauba, candelilla.

PVP/VA Copolymer: A plastic like substance that helps stick things to the skin or hold hair in its place. It’s known to damage your lungs and not to mention isn’t all too great for your skin or hair either.

Sodium Lauryl or Sodium Laureth Sulfate Detergents: Detergents found in shampoos, body wash, and tooth pastes. IT can cause scalp rashes, skin rashes, eye irritation.

Synthetic Colors: These are pure to add color and many of them are carcinogenic except the mineral ones! Mineral-based colors such as CI 75 and && indicate that minerals are naturally derived colors.

Parfum: Pretty much in most things we see, though they are neurotoxins and can cause headaches, mood swings, depression, dizziness, and skin irritation, they also often trigger asthma attacks. A low level of parfum is expected but good alternatives are essential oils herbal or floral extracts.

Dibutyl Phthalate: mostly in nail polish or perfumes. It can cause developmental and reproductive abnormalities and is toxic to the liver and kidney.

Siloxanes (such as cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and cyclomethicone): silicone-based compounds are used to make products, such as lotions and creams feel better on your skin. They make it easy to apply and make it feel like a film so it feels better. Sounds amazing right? Yeah, it’s also a hormone disrupter which means it could possibly be carcinogenic.

Triclosan: an Antibacterial agent that absorbs easily into the skin- basically hand sanitizer, antiperspirants, facial cleansers, hand sanitizers and toothpaste but this is actually a hormone disrupter, it also tends to cause resistance toward commonly used antibiotics. Instead: use tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract or bitter orange extract.

Benzoyl Peroxide: Mostly used to treat acne and oily skin. This seriously dries up your skin and causes redness, itching and swelling and often blistering. Instead: use tea tree oil, lemongrass essential oil, grapefruit essential oil.

MIT (Methylisochlorothiasolinone): Honestly, if you ever read this anywhere, you just know by the numerous letters there must be something up. This is again to add shelf life to a product. However, it causes an epidemic of skin reactions, it’s also a neurotoxin and a potential carcinogenic.

These are just a few, there’s many more ingredients- especially ingredients that we’re all allergic to, ingredients that don’t suit our skin- just get on that 3G phone and google it! Yes, we all know that we have Botox available and about 1000 different treatments- but why not just take care of your largest organ?

Love,

R.

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